This Week In Tech The Apple Watch And Site Outage, Uber Hires Women, And Facebook Feels Stuffed – Business Intelligence Info

Fornerds,theweeksrightbeforefinalsareaCinderellamoment。

Suddenlythey’restars。

Pocketprotectorsarefashionable;peoplefindtheirjokesawholelotfunnier;DungeonsDragonssoundscool。

ManyCIOsareenjoyingthiskindofmomentnow,ascompanieseverywherefacethebusinessequivalentofafinalexamforavitalclasstheyhavemanagedtomostlyavoidsofar:digitaltransformation。

Butasalways,thereisalimittonerdymagic。

NomatterhowhelpfulCIOstrytobe,theirclassmatesstillwon’tpassiftheydon’tlearnthematerial。

WithITincreasinglycentraltoeverybusiness—fromthecustomerexperiencetotheofferingtothebusinessmodelitself—weallneedtostartthinkinglikeCIOs。

Passthedigitaltransformationexam,andyouprobablyhaveabrightfutureahead。

ArecentSAP-OxfordEconomicsstudyof3,100organizationsinavarietyofindustriesacross17countriesfoundthatthecompaniesthathavetakentheleadindigitaltransformationearnhigherprofitsandrevenuesandhavemorecompetitivedifferentiationthantheirpeers。

Theyalsoexpect23%morerevenuegrowthfromtheirdigitalinitiativesoverthenexttwoyears—anestimate2。

5to4timeslargerthantheaveragecompany’s。

Butthemarketisgradingonasteepcurve:thissameSAP-Oxfordstudyfoundthatonly3%havecompletedsomedegreeofdigitaltransformationacrosstheirorganization。

Othersurveysalsosuggestthatmostcompanieswon’tbegraduatinganytimesoon:inonerecentsurveyof450headsofdigitaltransformationforenterprisesintheUnitedStates,UnitedKingdom,France,andGermanybytechnologycompanyCouchbase,90%agreedthatmostdigitalprojectsfailtomeetexpectationsanddeliveronlyincrementalimprovements。

Worse:overhalf(54%)believethatorganizationsthatdon’tsucceedwiththeirtransformationprojectwillfailorbeabsorbedbyasavviercompetitorwithinfouryears。

Companiesthataremakingthegradeunderstandthatunlikeearliertechnicaladvances,digitaltransformationdoesn’tjustsupportthebusiness,it’sthefutureofthebusiness。

That’swhy60%ofdigitalleadingcompanieshaveentrustedtheleadershipoftheirtransformationtotheirCIO,andthat’swhyexpertssaybusinesspeoplemustdomorethanhaveavagueunderstandingofthetechnology。

TheymustalsomasterawayofthinkingandlookingatbusinesschallengesthatisunfamiliartomostpeopleoutsidetheITdepartment。

Inotherwords,ifyoudon’tthinklikeaCIOyet,nowisaverygoodtimetolearn。

However,giventhatyouprobablydon’thaveaspare15yearstolearnwhatyourCIOknows,weaskedtheexpertswhatmakesCIOthinkingdistinctive。

Herearethetopeightmindhacks。

1。

ThinkinSystems

Alotofbusinesspeopleareusedtoseeingtheirorganizationasaseriesoflooselyjoinedsilos。

Butintheworldofdigitalbusiness,everythingispartofalargersystem。

CIOshaveknownforalongtimethatsmartprocesseswin。

Whethertheywereinstallingenterpriseresourceplanningsystemsorworkingwiththebusinesstoimaginethecustomer’sjourney,theyalwayshadtothinkinholisticwaysthatcrossedtraditionaldepartmental,functional,andoperationalboundaries。

Unlikeotherbusinessleaders,CIOsspendtheircareerslookingacrosssystems。

Whydidoursupplychaingodown?

Howcanwesupportthisnewbusinessinitiativebeyondasingledepartmentorfunction?

Nowsupportedbyend-to-endprocessmethodologiessuchasdesignthinking,goodCIOshavedevelopedawayoflookingatthecompanythatcanleadtoradicalsimplificationsthatcanreducecostandimproveperformanceatthesametime。

Theyarealsousedtothinkingbeyondtemporalboundaries。

“Thisideathatthepoweroftechnologydoubleseverytwoyearsmeansthatasyou’replanningaheadyoucan’tthinkintermsofalinearprocess,youhavetothinkintermsofhugejumps,”saysJayFerro,CIOofTransPerfect,aNewYork–basedglobaltranslationfirm。

NowondertheSAP-Oxfordtransformationstudyfoundthatoneofthevaluestransformationalleaderssharedwasatendencytolookbeyondsilosandviewthedigitaltransformationasacompany-wideinitiative。

Thiswillcomeinhandybecauseindigitaltransformation,notonlydobusinessprocessesevolvebutthecompany’sentirevaluepropositionchanges,saysJeanneRoss,principalresearchscientistattheCenterforInformationSystemsResearchattheMassachusettsInstituteofTechnology(MIT)。

“Iteitheralreadyhasorit’sgoingto,becausedigitaltechnologiesmakethingspossiblethatweren’tpossiblebefore,”sheexplains。

2。

WorkinDiverseTeams

Whenitcomestolargeprojects,CIOshavealwaysneededinputfromadiversecollectionofbusinesspeopletobesuccessful。

Thebesthavedevelopedwaystoconvinceandcajolereluctantparticipantstocometothetable。

Theyseekouttechnologyenthusiastsinthebusinessandthosewhoarerespectedbytheirpeerstohelpbuildpassionandcommitmentamongthehalfhearted。

Digitaltransformationampsuptheurgencyforbuildingdiverseteamsevenfurther。

“Asmall,focusedgroupsimplywon’thavethesamebreadthofperspectiveasateamthatincludesasalespersonandaservicepersonandadevelopmentperson,aswellasanITperson,”saysRoss。

AtLenovo,theglobaltechnologygiant,manyofthesecross-functionalteamsbecomesousedtoworkingtogetherthatit’shardtotellwhereeachmemberoriginallybelonged:“Youcan’ttellwhoisbusinessorIT;youcan’ttellwhoisproduct,IT,ordesign,”saysthecompany’sCIO,ArthurHu。

Oneinterestingcorollaryofthistrendtowardbroaderteamworkisthattalentisapriorityamongdigitalleaders:theyspendmoreontrainingtheiremployeesandpartnersthanordinarycompanies,aswellasonhiringthepeopletheyneed,accordingtotheSAP-OxfordEconomicssurvey。

They’realsoalreadybeingrewardedfortheirfaithintheirteams:71%ofleaderssaythattheirsuccessfuldigitaltransformationhasmadeiteasierforthemtoattractandretaintalent,and64%saythattheiremployeesarenowmoreengagedthantheywerebeforethetransformation。

3。

BecomeaConsultant

GoodCIOshavelongneededtobeinternalconsultantstothebusiness。

Eversincetechnologymovedoutoftheglasshouseandontoemployees’desks,CIOshavenotonlyneededadeepunderstandingofthegoalsofagivenprojectbutalsotomakesurethattheprojectdidn’tstrayfromthosegoals,evenafterthebusinesspeoplewhohadorderedtheprojectwentbacktotheirdayjobs。

“Businesspeopledidn’treallyneedtogetintothedetailsofwhatITwasreallydoing,”recallsFerro。

“Theyjusthadasetofdemandsandsaid,‘Hey,IT,godothat。

’”

Butthatwasthen。

Nowsoftwarehasbecomesointegraltothebusinessthatnobodycanaffordtowalkaway。

BusinesspeoplemustjointheranksoftheITconsultants。

“Ifyou’rebuildingahouse,youdon’tjustdisappearforsixmonthsandcomebackandgo,‘Oh,itlooksprettygood,’”saysFerro。

“You’reonthatworksiteconstantlyandallofasuddenyou’relookingatsomething,going,‘Well,thatlookedreallygoodontheblueprint,notsureitmakessenseinreality。

Let’smovethatoversixfeet。

’Or,‘Idon’tknowifIlikethatanymore。

’It’sreallynotmuchdifferentinapplicationdevelopmentorforITortechnicalprojects,whereonpaperitlookedreallygoodandthreeweeksin,inthatsecondsprint,you’regoing,‘Oh,nowthatIlookatit,that’sreallystupid。

’”

4。

LearnHorizontalLeadership

CIOshavealwaysneededtheabilitytoeducateandinfluenceotherleadersthattheydon’tdirectlycontrol。

FormajorITprojectstobesuccessful,theyneedotherleaderstocontributebudget,time,andresourcesfrommultipleareasofthebusiness。

It’sakindofhorizontalleadershipthatwillbecomecriticalforbusinesspeopletoacquireindigitaltransformation。

“Theleadershiprolebecomesonemuchmoreofcoachingothersacrosstheorganization—encouragingpeopletobecreative,makingsureeverybodyknowshowtousedatawell,”Rosssays。

Inthisteam-basedenvironment,havingalltheanswersbecomeslessimportant。

“Itusedtobethatthebestbusinessexecutivesandleadershadthebestanswers。

Todaythatisnolongerthecase,”observesGaryCokins,atechnologyconsultantwhofocusesonanalytics-basedperformancemanagement。

“Increasingly,it’stheexecutivesandleaderswhoaskthebestquestions。

Thereistoomuchvolatilityanduncertaintyforthemtorelyontheirintuitionorpastexperiences。



Manyexpertsexpectthistrendtocontinueastheconfluenceofautomationanddatakeepschippingawayattheorganizationalpyramid。

“Hierarchical,command-and-controlleadershipwillbecomeobsolete,”saysEdwardHess,professorofbusinessadministrationandBattenexecutive-in-residenceattheDardenSchoolofBusinessattheUniversityofVirginia。

“Flatter,distributiveleadershipviateamswillbecomethedominantstructure。



5。

UnderstandProcessDesign

Whenbusinessprocessesweresimpler,ITcouldanalyzetheprocessandimproveitwithoutinputfromthebusiness。

Buttodaymanyprocessesaretriggeredontheflybythecustomer,makingaseamlesscustomerexperiencemoredifficulttobuildwithoutthebenefitofalarger,multifunctionalteam。

InahighlydigitalizedorganizationlikeAmazon,whichreleasesthousandsofnewsoftwareprogramseachyear,ITcannolongerdoitall。

Whilebusinesspeoplearen’texpectedtostartcoding,theirinvolvementinprocessdesigniscrucial。

OneofthetechniquesthatmanyorganizationshaveadoptedtohelpITandbusinesspeoplevisualizebusinessprocessestogetherisdesignthinking(formoreondesignthinkingtechniques,see“ACultofCreation“)。

Customersaren’ttheonlyoneswhobenefitfrombetterprocesses。

Amongthe100companiestheSAP-OxfordEconomicsresearchershaveidentifiedasdigitalleaders,two-thirdssaythattheyaremakingtheiremployees’liveseasierbyeliminatingprocessroadblocksthatinterferewiththeirabilitytodotheirjobs。

Ninetypercentofleaderssurveyedexpecttoseevaluefromtheseprojectsinthenexttwoyearsalone。

6。

LearntoKeepLearning

TheabilitytolearnandkeeplearninghasbeenapartofITfromthestart。

Sincethefirstmainframesinthe1950s,technologistshaveunderstoodthattheyneedtokeepreinventingthemselvesandtheirskillstoadapttothechangesaroundthem。

Nowthat’sstartingtobecomepartofotherjobdescriptionstoo。

Manycompaniesareinvestinginteachingtheiremployeesnewdigitalskills。

OneSouthAmericanautoproductscompany,forexample,hascreatedacustom-educationinstitutethattrained20,000employeesandpartner-employeesin2016。

Inadditiontotrainingcurrentstaff,manyleadingdigitalcompaniesarealsohiringnewemployeesandcreatingnewroles,suchasachiefroboticsofficer,tosupporttheirdigitaltransformationefforts。

NicolasvanZeebroeck,professorofinformationsystemsanddigitalbusinessinnovationattheSolvayBrusselsSchoolofEconomicsandManagementattheFreeUniversityofBrussels,saysthatheexpectstheabilitytolearnquicklywillremaincrucial。

“IfIhadtothinkofonecriticalskill,”heexplains,“Iwouldhavetosayit’stheabilitytolearnandkeeplearning—theabilitytochallengethestatusquoandquestionwhatyoutakeforgranted。



7。

FailSmarter

Traditionally,CIOstendedtobegoodatthinkingthroughteststhatwouldallowthecompanytoexperimentwithnewtechnologywithoutriskingtheentirenetwork。

Thisisanotherunfamiliarskillthatsmartmanagersaretryingtopickup。

“There’salotoftrialanderrorinthebestcompaniesrightnow,”notesMIT’sRoss。

Butthere’sacatch,sheadds。

“Mostcompaniesaren’tdesignedfortrialanderror—they’retryingtoavoidanerror,”shesays。

Tolearnhowtodoitbetter,takeyourleadfromIT,wheremanypeoplehavealreadylearnedtoworkinsmall,innovativeteamsthatuseagiledevelopmentprinciples,advisesRoss。

Forexample,businessmanagersmustlearnhowtothinkintermsofaminimumviableproduct:buildasimpleversionofwhatyouhaveinmind,testit,andifitworksstartbuilding。

“Youdon’tbuildthewholethingatonceanymore。

…It’sreallyimportanttobuildthingsincrementally,”Rosssays。

Flexibilityandtheabilitytocapitalizeonaccidentaldiscoveriesduringexperimentationaremoreimportantthanhavingaconcreteprojectplan,saysRoss。

AtSpotify,themusicservice,andCarMax,theused-carretailer,changeisdrivennotfromthecenterbutfromsmallteamsthathavedevelopedsomethingnew。

“Thethingyouhavetogetcomfortablewithisnothavingtheformalizedplanthatwewouldhavetraditionallyreliedon,becauseassoonasyouinsistonthat,youlimityourabilitytokeeplearning,”Rosswarns。

8。

UnderstandtheTrueCost—andSpeed—ofData

GutinstinctshaveneverhadmuchtodowithbeingaCIO;nowtheyshouldhavelesstodowithbeinganordinarymanageraswell,asdatabecomesmoreimportant。

Aspartofthatcalculation,businesspeoplemusthavetheabilitytoanalyzethevalueofthedatathattheyseek。

“You’llneedtoapplyapinchofknowledgesalttoyourdata,”advisesSolvay’svanZeebroeck。

“Whatreallymattersistheabilitynotjusttotapintodatabuttoseewhatisbehindthedata。

Isitafairrepresentation?

Isitimpartial?



Increasingly,businesspeoplewillneedtodotheiranalysisinrealtime,justasCIOshavealwayshadtomanagelivesystemsandprocesses。

Movingtowardreal-timereportsandawayfrompaper-baseddecisionsincreasesaccuracyandeffectiveness—andleaveslesstimeforlongmeetingsandPowerPointpresentations(letusallrejoice)。

NotEveryCIOIsReady

Ofcourse,notallCIOsarereadyforthesechanges。

Justashighschoolhasalotoffalsepositives—geniusnerdswhoturnouttobemerelynearsighted—sotherearemanyCIOswhoaren’tgoodrolemodelsfortransformation。

SuccessasaCIOthesedaysrequiresmorethandeliveringnear-perfectuptime,saysLenovo’sHu。

Youneedtobeabletounderstandthebusinessaswell。

SomeCIOssimplydon’thaveallthebusinessskillsthatareneededtosucceedinthetransformation。

Otherslacktheinternalclout:a2016KPMGstudyfoundthatonly34%ofCIOsreportdirectlytotheCEO。

Thislackofastrategicperspectiveisholdingbackdigitaltransformationatmanyorganizations。

Theyapproachdigitaltransformationasacool,one-offproject:we’regoingtoputthisnewmobileappinplaceandwe’redone。

Butthat’snotasystematicapproach;it’sanislandofinnovationthatdoesn’tjoinupwiththeotherislandsofinnovation。

Inthelongerterm,thiskindofdevelopmentcreatesmoreproblemsthanitfixes。

Suchorganizationsarenotbuildinginthecapacityforchange;they’retryingtogetawaywithjustdoingitonceratherthanthinkingabouthowthey’regoingtousedigitalizationasameanstoconstantlyexperimentandbecomeabettercompanyoverthelongterm。

Asaresult,insomecompanies,themostinterestingtechdevelopmentsarehappeningdespiteIT,notbecauseofit。

“There’sanalarmingdigitaldividewithinmanycompanies。

Marketersaredevelopingnimblesoftwaretogivecustomersanengaging,personalizedexperience,whileITdepartmentsremainfocusedonthelegacyinfrastructure。

Thefrontandbackendsaren’tworkingtogether,resultinginappealingwebsitesandappsthatdon’tquitedeliver,”writesGeorgeColony,founder,chairman,andCEOofForresterResearch,intheMITSloanManagementReview。

Thankstocloudcomputingandeasierdevelopmenttools,manydepartmentsaredevelopingontheirown,withoutIT’ssupport。

Thesedays,anybodywithacreditcardcandoit。

Traditionally,ITdepartmentslookedaskanceatthesekindsofdo-it-yourselfshadowITprograms,butthat’schanging。

Ferro,forone,saysthatit’sbettertolookatthoseteamsnotasroguegroupsbutaspeoplewhoaretryingtohelp。

“It’slessabout‘Hey,something’sescaped,’andmoreabout‘No,wejustactuallygrewourcapacityandgrewourabilitytoinnovate,’”heexplains。

“Idon’tliketheterm‘shadowIT,’”agreesLenovo’sHu。

“Ithinkit’sanartifactofaverytraditionalCIOteam。

IfyouthinkofitasshadowIT,you’reoutofstepwithreality,”hesays。

TherealitytodayisthatacompanyneedsbothastrongITdepartmentandstrongdigitalcapacitiesoutsideitsITdepartment。

Iftherelationshipisgood,theCIOandITbecomevaluablealliesinhelpingbusinesspeopleadddigitalcapabilitieswithoutdisruptingorduplicatingexistingITinfrastructure。

Ifacompanyalreadyhasstrongdigitalcapacities,itshouldbeabletomoveforwardquickly,accordingtoRoss。

Butmanycompaniesarestillplayingcatch-upandaren’tevenreadytobegintransforming,astheSAP-OxfordEconomicssurveyshows。

ForenterpriseswherebusinessandITareunabletogettheircollectiveacttogether,Rosspredictsthatthenextfewyearswillberough。

“Ithinkthesecompaniesoughttopanic,”shesays。

D!

AbouttheAuthors

ThomasSaueressigisChiefInformationOfficeratSAP。

TimoElliottisanInnovationEvangelistatSAP。

SamYenisChiefDesignOfficeratSAPandManagingDirectorofSAPLabs。

BennettVoylesisaBerlin-basedbusinesswriter。

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JenCohenCrompton–DigitalistMagazine